“My grandsons, my sons and I are walking around today because of your ejection seat! At 3 am on September 7, 1981 My RIO and I were waiting to park after aborting our launch aboard USS Kitty Hawk. We were stopped in the middle of the landing area when a frantic radio call caused me to look over my left shoulder and see an A-7 about to land on us. I could not get far enough out of the way so I initiated ejection as the planes collided. My RIO ducked and covered his head. His seat retracted his harness, sat him up and shot him out. My seat fired as the Tomcat was headed over the side of the ship in a previously untested part of the ejection envelope (zero airspeed, nose down, aircraft torquing left due to the A-7 impact.
Both my RIO and I escaped without injury. Such a complex device and it worked perfectly. Thanks from the bottom of my heart!”